2017 Jin Jun Mei
2017 Jin Jun Mei
金骏眉 · Hand-plucked, fully-oxidised spring buds from Wuyi Mountains, Fujian
Jin Jun Mei or ‘Golden Horse Eyebrow’ is a black tea produced solely from hand-plucked spring buds. The dry leaf aroma is strong with toast and sweet barley, while the wet leaf and liquor is unmistakably like hot chocolate.
From the first infusion to the last, the liquor resembles a warm pinewood tone, honeyed and fresh. Each meticulously hand-plucked bud is representative of careful and skilled preparation, presenting a very light curling and ‘tippled’ in a distinctive golden pollen hue.
Huanggang Mountain, Wuyi Shan, Fujian, China
Cultivar: Fuyun No. 6
Plucking: 10th April 2017
Family: Ms. Cindy Chen
This style of tea is only new to the tea world, hailing from the same birthplace as lapsang souchong — Tong Mu Guan of Fujian Province, China. In a short time it has become incredibly popular on the global market, and coincidentally is one of my most cherished Chinese red teas for the year of 2017.
Ms. Chen informs us that plucking is done by hand, and that the cultivar was imported from Taiwan for efficacy within the local climate, and its ability to produce hardy, well-sized buds that withstand processing. Skilled labour is increasingly becoming scarce and expensive around the growing regions, as the younger generation prefer to find work in the city. The ageing members of the family, says Ms. Chen, remain an indispensable help in the arduous task of plucking and producing this very popular tea.
The plucking takes place around 1,500 metres above sea level, along Mount Huanggang, situated within the famed Wuyi Mountain area of Fujian, China.
Processing lasts up to 10 hours and is described as being completed ‘low and slow’ with gentle heat, in a specially allocated room. A damp, cloth-covered basket is changed at intervals to bring about oxidation without damaging the leaves, or bringing on unwanted breakage.
Malted barley, sweetened cacao, light honey
Full-bodied and brisk, and yet layered in complex, intermingling sweet, toasted and citrus flavours, this tea is best appreciated with a well-seasoned yixing or a gaiwan.
From our experiments and immense enjoyment of this tea, we've found that six is the magic number of infusions that can be achieved using gongfu cha. The caveat is that each infusion should be short and not too hot. Any single infusion that is oversteeped will thoroughly overlook the citrus notes and present too much astringency to enjoy the caramel and 'hot chocolate' appeal of this tea.
How to brew
Pair this tea with:
Chocolate mousse, raspberry sponge, savoury biscuits
Grilled mushroom platter, pearl barley couscous, soy broth
Egg-custard tart, choux pastry, salted caramel or butterscotch
Fresh terrine of smoked vegetables with Greek feta cheese
Wholewheat waffles with crisp ham and maple syrup